My Experience at Howard University

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ImageLast year, I put up a post on the topic of college, specifically dealing with college as a black kid. I went back and forth on a few ideas, but for the most part I wasn’t too sure on what direction I should take. Should I go with a majority school? A PWI? Should I go to school out of the country? And of course, is an HBCU the best option? Well, after my experience from the last 4 days, I can say without a doubt in my mind that I will definitely be going to a Historically Black College and University. And if I had my choice to pick, it would definitely be Howard.

 

I say this because Howard really does give off the feeling of a utopia for young black people. Not only is there an incredibly broad spectrum of black people from around the world full of different experiences and skills, but everyone is on a path to success. Never in my life have I seen so many people who you could tell were focused and driven to succeed in their own way. Whether it was the psychology major or the aspiring music producer, everyone had a special type of fire in their eyes whenever they talked about their future goals. It was incredibly inspiring. And I know that one could apply that to any HBCU, but it’s different at Howard. Howard holds a standard of excellence unlike any other HBCU, and that’s reason why they’re ranked number 1 amongst HBCUs. And in many areas, such as the School of Business, they’re ranked extremely high amongst colleges in general. So in terms of academics, Howard is the move.

 

And in terms of the social life, it’s almost disrespectful trying to explain it in words. To quote one of our group’s leaders “ nothing will prepare you for Howard except Howard”. The city of D.C. seemed to have a heartbeat that never stopped, and every day was a new adventure. I could write for days on some of the memories I had around Howard and D.C. , but to keep it short, I’ll just say that this trip will always hold a special place in my heart. From insane Uber rides, to late night runs to IHOP, Step Shows, and everything in between, this trip was great.

 

And even with all of that, I also got the opportunity to attend sessions on various schools of study at Howard. Whether it was the School of Communications, the School of Arts and Sciences and of course the School of Business. Each of these sessions provided not only more information on the school, but extremely useful information dealing with majors, tips for high school, and the application process. I wanted to go to more at the end of the trip, but the ones I did go to helped in many ways.

 

So to conclude, I simply want to thank the Howard University Alumni Association for the opportunity to experience Howard even for only a few days. The bus trip was extremely memorable, all of the chaperones were laid-back and resourceful, and the entire attitude toward the trip was a great mixture between “enjoy yourself”and “learn as much as you can”. To say I’m thankful is an understatement.  And after being on Howard’s campus and receiving only a glimpse into the life of a Howard Student, if all the right things line up, you can find me in D.C in a couple of years.

 

“H-U?!?”

 

“YOU KNOW!”  

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My Experience: The African American Excellence Summit

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In this day and age, especially as a teenager, I get the constant feeling that my opinion doesn’t matter. Whether it’s dealing with issues concerning my family, or suggesting ideas in the classroom, I always feel like my ideas are…dismissed. And this statement is especially true most of the time, sadly, due to the color of my skin. Not with my family, but at times I feel like teachers and people I encounter that aren’t black, act like I’m incapable of making my own thoughts or expressing myself. Not only does this anger me, but it makes me a little scared to think that there are people who think this way, when we currently have an African-American president. I could go on for a while about this, but I’ll save it for another post. Anyway, imagine my excitement  when I get an email that I have been asked to take part in a panel on African American Educational Excellence at Morehouse College on behalf of the White House! The panel I was on was literally made to see how Black boys and young men felt on issues concerning them, and how adults can help us on the problems we face. It was so fitting to some of the problems I face,  that I thought it was actually a joke. “Yeah right, so I’m probably going to ride on Air Force One to meet with the President for lunch afterwards, right?” But then, I asked my parents about it, and sure enough, it was happening.

        My first reaction was excitement, but the more I thought about how important this was, my emotions quickly turned into nervousness. The Summit was postponed briefly due to weather problems, but that didn’t stop me from constantly thinking about what I have to say and all the things that can go wrong. What if I start to sweat a lot on stage? What if I can’t answer any of the questions? What if I look stupid!  All of this was swimming through my head as the days leading up to the summit were ticking away. But as I sat on my couch on the night before the summit, my dad gave my the best advice I could have gotten. He said:

“This entire panel is about people like you. You don’t have to make things up or memorize things. Just speak from the heart. That’s what they want.”

And with that, I felt ready to take part in this experience.

        And after all the anticipation, and the weeks and weeks of wondering what’s going to happen, I’m glad to say that it went very well. I felt the energy in the room, as the panelists and I answered all the questions we were asked with fluidity and relaxation. We were asked questions like “how do stereotypes affect the way you live”, all the way to “what is the one thing that adults can do to support black males”. To be honest, it didn’t even feel like a “panel”. It simply felt like a conversation between the panelists and the moderator, Nick Chiles (I liked him… a lot) . The audience wasn’t intimidating at all, and their questions in the Q&A were thought-provoking.  And one of the bests parts, was that I even got to plug  thedarkerlens! I felt like I could be up there all day, but there was a different panel after us. And it was during that panel, that I learned one of the most important messages of the entire day.

        The next panel was about how Black men can have success in college. It was an electric and exciting panel to watch, and I learned a lot of statistics and opinions that can really benefit me down the road. But what I got the most from that panel, was the importance to go to a Historically Black College. All these panelists, mainly men, were all alumni of an HBCU. What was great about that, was the fact that all of them were SO SMART. Like, it was overwhelming how smart these people were. From professors, to  graduated seniors of HBCU’s, all of these people were incredibly intelligent. And honestly, it was refreshing to see. Too many times in the media and on the news, I see the stereotypical depiction of a black man who is either barely literate, or a convict. This panel was a great reminder that there are still brilliant black males in the world, and that it is possible to be around them through HBCU’s. And that’s, to me, why it is so important to go to a HBCU. Whether it’s Morehouse, Howard, Hampton, or any other college, it needs to be a place where I can be around and learn from smart black men. And hopefully, I can become one in the future.

 

 

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

Me (on the far left chair) at the Summit.

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